Pap Guidelines

Monica E. Lopez, M.D.


Your obgyn in Alliance or Grapevine has adopted new Pap guidelines

During a routine gynecological visit, we focus on prevention and early detection. To help protect you from cervical cancer, your obgyn can visually identify precancerous cervical lesions, and cytology, or a Pap smear, will indicate the presence of abnormal cervical cells at the earliest stages.

When you visit our Alliance or Grapevine obgyn clinic for your next annual well woman exam, you will find in place new Pap guidelines established in 2014 by leading medical institutions.* We may now recommend 1) prolonging the time between Pap testing, and 2) incorporating human papillomavirus, HPV, screening after age 30 as part of an effective and comprehensive cervical cancer prevention program.

An HPV infection oftentimes precedes cervical cancer. However, many women will contract HPV–not all HPV viruses cause cervical cancer. In fact, most cases resolve over time and the body’s immune system will fight off the infection.

HPV is often symptomless or may cause genital warts. In rare cases, HPV progresses slowly to form precancerous lesions and eventually invasive cervical cancer. Fortunately, the arc from HPV infection to cancer can take 10 to 20 years.

Is it necessary to Pap test at every obgyn visit?

No. Your annual well woman visit now incorporates new Pap guidelines, which recommend less frequent testing and co-testing. Combining the standard Pap test to search for abnormal cells with the new HPV test to find oncogenic, cancer-causing HPV cells enables you to make informed treatment decisions, and to avoid unnecessary procedures.

Women’s Integrated Healthcare generally follows recommendations set by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Cancer Society in regards to routine cervical cancer screening.

Who is at risk for cervical cancer?

Your obgyn in Alliance or Grapevine will assess your health history and order more frequent testing for women who:

  • Have a history of human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Have a history of cervical pre-cancer, or abnormal Pap tests
  • Have HIV or a compromised immune system
  • Have precancerous lesions
  • Have had an organ transplant
  • Were exposed to diethylstilbestrol, DES, while in utero

Every decision that we make at our Alliance or Grapevine obgyn offices prioritizes your well-being and long-term health. Adhering to the new Pap test guidelines, we will continue to screen you for cervical cancer and shield you from unnecessary testing. If it’s time for your annual well woman visit, please contact us here.

*The American Cancer Society and the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF)